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Alumni Engagement

Greenspace Management grad finds the grass is greener in chosen field

May 30, 2014

Kevin Versteeg was halfway to obtaining a degree in Criminal Justice when he realized his true calling was right in his own backyard.

In 2000, Versteeg started working at Schriemer’s Home & Garden as a general labourer, working his way up to the position of nursery manager by 2005. Hoping to become a police officer, Versteeg started at the University of Winnipeg, completing two years of study before realizing he was already in his preferred career.

In 2007, while still working at Schriemer’s, Versteeg started his own landscape construction business, Classic Landscapes, and he hasn’t looked back.

“I really enjoy the transformation,” says Versteeg, 26, of landscape construction, which includes everything from full yard design to building decks and pergolas to installing putting greens.

“It’s very rewarding, being able to start with something that’s maybe not pleasing to the eye or [not] that functional and turning it into something that’s attractive, functional and something that the customer will really enjoy.”

Looking to expand his knowledge in the field, Versteeg began Red River College’s Greenspace Management program in 2008, graduating with honours in 2011. He says the program provided him valuable information, and not only in areas directly related to his business.

“I learned a lot about things I wouldn’t have picked up on the job, like irrigation and stuff like that, where I maybe don’t do it myself but I run into it and then I have to deal with it,” Versteeg says. “It’s good to have a good working knowledge of a lot of things related to what I do.”

Versteeg, a graduate of Immanuel Christian School in Transcona, says education is very important to him and his business.

“From myself right down through my crew,” Versteeg says. “I’m a Greenspace graduate. I have a Greenspace graduate running another one of my crews and in my other crew I have someone who is graduating from the program this year.”

Also, Versteeg and several of his employees have completed the Concrete Paver Installer Course through the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.

Versteeg says his well-trained and dedicated crew, which includes five full-time employees, separates Classic Landscapes from similar landscape construction businesses.

“We take industry standard and make sure we blow it out of the water every time,” Versteeg says. “That’s how we try to approach things. If there’s a standard way of installing things, how do we do it better? With our climate and with the type of soil we have, a lot of things don’t last if they’re not installed really well.”

Versteeg, who lives in Lorette, Man. with his wife Suzanne and his newborn son Blake, says he puts 65 to 70 hours a week into Classic Landscapes in the spring/summer. In the winter, he manages Springhill Winter Sports Park in Springfield, Man.

Versteeg says he could see himself adding one more crew to Classic Landscapes, but doesn’t want to stretch himself too thin.

“We’re four times the size we were when we started and we don’t want to grow too huge,” Versteeg says of his business.

“We’re getting to where we want to be. We want to be big enough that we can take on big projects and deliver people everything they ask for, but I already work 70 hours a week. I don’t want to be so busy that I’m not able to deliver a good quality personal service experience to each customer.”

Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)